We aim to assess mechanisms that we expect underpin the outcomes of our collaboration efforts. Evaluation of our processes and associated outcomes are important for informing improvements to our approach as well as contributing to what is known about strategies for enhancing policymakers’ use of research evidence. While we continue to seek support for answering some these questions, we are happy to share some of the work that we already have results for.
Our Questions and Answers
How can we improve the reach of research dissemination efforts?
Our work with researchers and legislative offices often culminates in the production of collaborative products, such as policy briefs. We hope to learn more about the ways in which we can strengthen the reach of these efforts. We investigate under what circumstances legislative staff access research materials and agree to interact with researchers. We have a forthcoming paper regarding our dissemination efforts and rapid cycle experimentation that will be linked here when it is published.
Are we supporting ongoing connections between legislative staff and researchers?
We are constantly seeking new information about how to improve our collaboration with researchers and legislative offices. By assessing processes that improve these relationships, we hope to foster conditions that will lead to trusting, enduring connections.
Are researchers feeling more equipped to engage with legislative offices?
Part of our collaboration efforts include opportunities for researchers to learn and practice skills for working in public policy. We hope to learn more about the impact of participation in webinars and in structured rapid response efforts guided by coordinators who coach and provide feedback on applications of research in policy efforts. A set of these findings has been published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, available to read here.
What sort of collaborative products might surface through the RPC?
Working with legislative offices and researchers offers the unique opportunity to learn more about the development and benefits of these interactions. How do legislative offices and researchers work together? What are their perceptions of accomplishments? What are the short-term benefits of these collaborative projects?
How can research evidence be used in legislation?
While “Evidence-based policy” has drawn a lot of attention from both legislators and intermediary organizations, little is known about how research evidence is infused into legislative language. Understanding how research has been written into bills or laws will allow us to draw on examples when partnering with legislative offices seeking to enhance a research basis in the bills they draft. An example of our evidence-based policy work can be explored here.
Theoretical Rationale and Process
All of our activities are rooted in theory, including the way we evaluate both our successes (i.e., outcomes) and how we accomplish those (i.e., processes). See our full logic model here.
What are our key points?
How do we improve the bridge between research and policy?
Use of research evidence
Access to research
Access to research
Relevant and agenda-neutral support for legislators
Collaboration that inspires mutual trust and respect between our communities
Timeliness and frequency of researcher-policymaker interactions
Enhanced communication with both legislators and researchers
Modernized tools for bridging researchers and policymakers
Preparing researchers for engagement with policymakers and providing an opportunity for doing so
Mixed Method Evaluation
Our triangulation approach employs both qualitative and quantitative analyses of survey, interview, and observational data. The use of multiple types of data allows us to validate our findings across multiple sources. These sources allow us to conduct our evaluation efforts through an outcome, implementation, and impact lens. View some results from our studies below.